US-Turkey: Trump assures Erdogan “ties are still good” despites divergences

US President Donald Trump Wednesday vowed fidelity to ties with Turkey saying that Washington will remain on the side of Ankara against outlawed Kurdish groups.

President Trump was speaking at a joint press conference with visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was at the White House to seek American clarification on plans to arm Syrian Kurds seen by Ankara as a continuity of banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK group blacklisted as terrorist group by the US and Europe.

Such groups will “have no safe quarter,” Trump said.

Erdogan who just secured sweeping powers following last month referendum, last week grilled Washington following decision by the Trump administration to arm the Syrian Kurdish fighters; Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Unit (YPG) considered by Washington among best partners in the fight against Daech in Syria but vomited by Ankara as an extension of outlawed PKK.

“If our alliance is going to be overshadowed, then we should take care of ourselves. We can’t allow this alliance to be taken over by policies against Turkey,” Erdogan said.

Both NATO allies are engaged in the fight against the global terrorist group in Syria.

Ankara and US also remain at odds over the presence in the United State of Erdogan’s arch enemy, Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania. Ankara accuses him of funding terrorism.

Ankara has issued an extradition request for Gulen’s alleged endorsement of the failed military coup against Erdogan last year, but the request is still under study by the US judiciary.

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